These old photos of empty German nightclubs are eerily familiar given these strange times
Let’s face it, clubbing as we know and love it won’t be back for some time, with a looming ‘second wave’ meaning we may soon have to learn how to live long term with the coronavirus.
Even nocturnal meccas like Berlin’s Berghain have had to seek alternative ways of attracting punters, with the infamous venue now turned into a temporary art gallery.
A number of years ago, photographers André Giesemann and Daniel Schulz joined forces for a project called Vom Bleibem (What Remains), which features ghostly images of popular German nightclubs after the ravers have gone home… images that are eerily in keeping with the current clubbing impasse.
The images were taken between 2009 and 2013 on a large format camera (4×5 inch) on negative, with a long exposure that captures the almost supernatural silence that befalls empty nightclubs, beer bottles still adorning bar tops and various pieces of detritus on the floor.
The photo of Tresor Berlin’s iconic basement and ‘caged’ DJ box is particularly striking – particularly given the club’s recent financial difficulties and Tresor Never Sleeps fundraising campaign.
‘It is the moment in which the traces of the event become visible,’ Giesemann says on his website.‘When the clubs close at daytime, we enter their rooms and the battlefield that has been left behind.
‘As soon as the last visitors have left and the cleaning-light has been turned on, we start to photographically record the present scene and atmosphere.
‘The moment before everything is put back in order exists only for a short time.’
Sadly, given the current status of Europe’s nightclub industry, these images are all too prescient… the moment ‘everything is put back in order’ could be a while in coming.
The full series of photos can be viewed here.
[All photos © André Giesemann and Daniel Schulz]